Fines fall as parking message hits home

A TOUGHENED stance against parking cheats is putting drivers off breaking the rules, new figures reveal today.In the four months since Ipswich Borough Council took over parking enforcement from the police on October 1 last year, the number of drivers being fined has began to fall.

A TOUGHENED stance against parking cheats is putting drivers off breaking the rules, new figures reveal today.

In the four months since Ipswich Borough Council took over parking enforcement from the police on October 1 last year, the number of drivers being fined has began to fall.

In October, motorists shelled out £10,500 in fines, but by January that figure had fallen steadily to £6,600.

The figures suggest the council's tougher stance on the problem, which has seen it employ 15 parking wardens compared to the police's four, is starting to have an impact.

Councillor Inga Lockington, responsible for transport and the environment, said: “It could be that people are starting to get the message. I'm sure drivers are keen to avoid getting a fine.

“On October 1, we couldn't start fining people who had previously been parking on yellow lines without tickets, so warning notices were initially used.

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“This is about getting traffic flowing in the town. Parking was low on the police's agenda, because they had more important things to deal with.”

The figures obtained by The Evening Star under the Freedom of Information Act revealed that in the four months before parking decriminalisation motorists paid out £22,260 in fines.

However when the council took over enforcement the figure for a similar time period jumped to £37,230 - a 67 per cent rise.

As previously highlighted in The Evening Star, concerns were raised by a number of parents who parked briefly on yellow lines while dropping their children off at St Margaret's Primary School in Bolton Lane and Ipswich High School in Henley Road.

Penny Arbuthnot, chairman of St Margaret's Parents and Teachers Association, said the statistics were not unexpected.

She said: “I see the parking wardens marching around in the morning, so it's no surprise. They said they would be hot on the case and I think they are.

“It's very difficult for parents. They are making a ten minute stop to take their children to school and facing a penalty for doing so.”

Fines breakdown:

Police enforcement:

June 2005 - £6,600

July 2005 - £4,470

August 2005 - £6,960

September 2005 - £4,230

Council enforcement:

October 2005 - £10,500

November 2005 - £10,620

December 2005 - £9,450

January 2006 - £6,660

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